Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Make a Wish!


Cool shooting star-like daisies in the herb garden at the Smithsonian.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, tonight is the night to look for shooting stars. Tonight is the peak of the Perseid meteror shower, an all organic, 100% natural fireworks display. In the northern hemisphere there will be between fifty and eighty shooting stars per hour - wow - that's a lot of wishes! Even in the southern hemisphere, you should be able to see between 10-15 per hour.

Brothers Thunder and Lightning are scheduled to visit DC tonight, so I'm not counting on a chance to see this amazing sight with my own eyes. It's OK, I've seen them many times. I remember one beautiful August evening in Somerset County, England, in the middle of a ritual at witch camp. I had been focused on the campers who were dancing and singing in a circle when suddenly, out of the nowhere, I was tapped on the shoulder, or so it seemed. When I turned around and looked up, I saw a brilliant bluish acqua fireball streaking across the sky. I yelled LOOK! as loudly as I could, completely disrupting the ritual, but for good cause. What a vision! We could even hear it making a sssssssssssssssssssshhh sound as it descended. That was definitely the coolest meteor I've ever seen. I've also seen the Perseids from within the stone circle of Avebury in Wiltshire County, England. It's easy to understand why I won't be disappointed tonight if it rains, though watching them fall around the Washington Monument could be pretty cool, too.

Perseus, for whom the meteor showers are named, was quite a dude. He killed the gorgon, sliced off her head without being cursed by the experience, freed and married Andromeda, and became King of Mycenae. Wow.

So make a a wish tonight, or a dozen wishes, or fifty. I'm making a wish list and checking it twice. Oh yeah!


Cool alternate neighborhoods in the puddles leftover from recent rainstorms.

21 comments:

Meri said...

When my boys were young, I used to take blankets and pillows out onto the lawn and lie in the dark, still night with them to see the meteor showers of August. I wonder if they remember, if they felt the wonder I felt.

tut-tut said...

I once saw a meteor coming home from a party on a very cold winter's night in New England.

ellen abbott said...

Oh man, I wish we were out at the country house tonight. too much light pollution here to see anything.

willow said...

I have a treasured memory of a clear night in August, exactly 12 years ago, lying out on the patio on chaise lawn chairs with my daughter, who was 14 at the time, and watching the shooting stars for hours. It was a glorious display and we talked about life and boys and love.

janis said...

I have only caught a vision of shooting stars once. After a lovely evening with my husband, I talked him into laying on the kids tramboline and glazed into the sky. Just us two and a hundred stars on a gorgeous evening. He kissed me, then we saw not one, but two shooting stars! My first!
I am going to try hard to stay up and see another, maybe several here this evening. No trampoline anymore, but maybe I can drag the hubby out for another magical midnight kiss...

steven said...

hi reya, yellow spangly starflowers and leaves as far back as you can see in that picture and tonight there'll be wish stars flying across the sky!!! i have wishes . . . oh lots!! i'll send them as high as i can and see what comes of them.
i love that the windows in the alternate neighbourhood become cubist faces of women looking out of the corner of their eye. have a peaceful afternoon. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Janis that sounds like perfection! I'm going to wish for a night like that for myself some day. Oh yeah!!

Dan Gurney said...

Last summer I took a camping trip especially to see this annual shower. It was worth losing some sleep. Lots of meteors.

I looked out last night for 10 minutes or so, but the moon was out and the sky wasn't dark enough to see anything but bright meteors. I didn't see any... maybe tonight?

Bee said...

It's very cloudy tonight, but I will try to go outside and see if I can catch any meteors!

BTW, I'm having a Blog Camp at my house this weekend and we are going to visit Stonehenge. I'll think of you when I'm there. xx

Barry said...

I've seen the Perseid meteor showers many times, although we usually have to travel outside Toronto to see them. Toronto August skies are notoriously cloudy.

Linda and I will be out tonight, but unfortunately this year is also one of the worst or record for mosquitoes, so I'm not sure, if the sky is clear, how long we can stay out.

Steve said...

Wow, I'm going to check that out! I hope the clouds give us a break...right now, it's pretty cloudy out there.

Elizabeth said...

I have never seen a shooting star wish I had......

California Girl said...

It would be fun to see but we have a big cloud cover too.

Nice capture of the flowers.

Ronda Laveen said...

Two summers ago, we went to Hot August Nights in Reno. Because we had to take Thunder Dog with us, we stayed in the mountains. The Perseid showers were amazing to see out there. It was crystal clear, high elevation and no lights. Oh, what a night.

moonshin said...

i wish i could see them...never did before-not even once.

must be very beautiful - the meteor rain.
when life's pretty hard, i wish i could just stop and look at the stars...

nice pics, reya! love 'em!

Barbara Martin said...

I have never had 'good luck' with meteor showers so I tend to stay indoors away from windows.

karen said...

I love your descriptions of meteor showers in the past! I was supposed to look for them last night, in the northern sky, but was involved in other things that totally monopolised my attention, and am really sad that I missed out. will see if tonight is still a possibility..

sciencegirl said...

DOH. I completely forgot to go outside to watch. Thanks for the reminder - I hope there will still be a few meteors on offer tonight.

Wonderful photo of the reflecting puddle. You have such a creative eye!

Pauline said...

star daisies and alternate realities - it's always such a pleasure to come her to read and slip into the photos...

Reya Mellicker said...

It's interesting, isn't it, that comets are classically thought of as bad luck, but meteor showers, which occur when we pass through the tail debris of comets, are good luck.

Crazy.

Brenda said...

Well I guess my cousin was right the other night. She said she saw a shooting or falling star when we walked out of the building we were in. I thought it was a bug in the road light. She got to see something I didn't. Darn...